Author Platforms and Content
So, you have found the WordPress theme you like, purchased it, along with a domain name and now you want to go full throttle, right? Wrong. Before you launch yourself into cyberworld, you need content. Your theme is going to have spaces that desperately want to be filled. Resist the temptation to launch. WordPress will ask a zillion times if you are ready, but you are not. I learned this the hard way and then got frustrated trying to work with a system I was completely unprepared to work with while writing content at the same time You need, need, need content first. Also, note that I wrote everything in Word initially and then copied and pasted it into the page. I ran into formatting issues. I think it had to do with the theme I chose, but there’s two fixes to that. Either write in the page in WordPress or reformat in Word.
Headshots: Yuck! I know, but you need a professional photo to put on either your about me page or your home page. I had photography student take mine and it cost $25 for ten decent shots. You can find someone both reasonable and qualified. For the actual photo, think about a picture that you would want the back page of your novel. To add images you simply need to use the add media tab and insert the image. You may want to reduce or compress the image as well. The first time I added my headshot, I didn’t know how to adjust the size so my giant head was on every page of my site. The edit tab has the option to reduce the size of the image.
Images: I posted three blogs without images and guess what? I didn’t get many hits. A friend of mine showed me a great free site for images. I found a nice retro typewriter for my home page and I was good to go. You could spend hours finding the perfect image and do so. This is the creative part. Also, while these images are free it is nice to give a shout out to the photographer, so I just tweet the image and say thanks. I use Unsplash.
Home: If you’ve ever written a bio to accompany a piece of work you have submitted to a journal or a magazine, you can start with that and expand some. I think of it as mini-CV. You can showcase your writing accomplishments and published work. In my case, I listed my education, publications, and events (theatre) and collaborations (musical program) that I participated in with other artists. Note, that while I link other websites in my blog and portfolio, I don’t do this on my home page.
About: This is where you can get creative as a writer and you should. Are you looking for collaborations (again, this is something I am doing as well)? Are you seeking publication? What type of writer are you: speculative, literary, young adult, horror, or a combination of all of there genres? What is the name of the novel you are working on and where is it set? You can also expand upon some of the items from your home page here.
Portfolio: I made sure that the WordPress theme I selected had a page for a portfolio. For now, my portfolio page contains the following: one previously published short story; the cover art from the publication; and a link to the publication in case your followers want to buy it. One of the reasons I posted the entire short story was because I wanted to edit it since it was last published. I just can’t resist! It’s not vastly different from the original publication, but I guarantee that whenever you read your printed work you will discover things that just eat at you. This was my middle ground. You can also add pages in the menu and give it your own title such as poetry or short story.
Blog: You don’t have to blog, but how are people going to find you and discover what a compelling writer you are? I can only speak from experience, but if I had to do it over again, I would have written about two months’ worth of posts. One thing you do not want to do is post and then disappear. Once a month, once a week, daily. What works for you from a time perspective doesn’t work for others. Consistency is key here. Just stick to it. What to blog about? As you can see from my first post and this post, I decided to try to help other authors who found author platforms as mind-boggling as I did and maybe offer some insight. It really took off from there.